Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Nielsen Acquires eBook Data Business from Bowker


Bowker is best known for providing industry insights and data for eBooks, digital publishing and tablets. They normally issue monthly reports that give the entire industry a sense in usage and statistics. Today, Nielsen has purchased Bowker's Business Intelligence and Commerce Solutions products. This acquisition will build on Nielsen's existing global book intelligence by adding enhanced offerings in transaction services and sales measurement and analysis.

"We are committed to elevating the global book industry's understanding of print and digital book measurement and discovery within an evolving media landscape," said Jonathan Nowell, President, Books, Nielsen. "Bowker has developed first-rate book analytic solutions, which offer a great complement to Nielsen's existing solutions for the book industry. We are excited to welcome Bowker's team to Nielsen and we will work together to provide our clients with the measurement, tools, insights and linked commerce solutions needed to exceed their current and future expectations."

"Our commitment at Bowker and ProQuest is to develop solutions that streamline the workflow of our customers," said ProQuest CEO Kurt Sanford. "By bringing together Nielsen and Bowker analytic services, book publishers will receive the critical data they require to navigate the transition to digital-first publishing, through one tool set from one source, significantly simplifying the collection of business intelligence."

There is no word yet on how streamlined the eBook data reports will get in the near future. Likely a number of Bowker employees will be reporting directly to Nielsen, same goes with the underlying book analytics technologies.What we do know, is Nielson will release a new self-publishing report in the Fall and likely will have more comprehensive data than either of the two companies have ever released before.

Bowker in the immediate future is still owned by Proquest. The company will focus on their self-publishing tool set and ISBN business.

Nielsen Acquires eBook Data Business from Bowker is a post from: E-Reader News

Smashwords Unveils New Indie Author Interview System


Smashwords is one of the largest self-publishing websites in the world and pumps out hundreds of new titles each day. It is one of the most vibrant ecosystems for authors who write digital books exclusively. Smashwords Interviews is a new service that guides authors to create, edit and publish their own Q&A interview. Authors simply answer a series of questions, or create their own questions, and then click publish. The final interview can be easily integrated with their own websites, blog, or in the book description area on mainstream digital stores.

In order to use this new interview service you don’t actually have to publish an eBook with Smashwords. You simply have to just register for a free account and the system will generate a series of questions. It is a solid idea in spirit, because readers can know more about the author and also gives another marketing tool in the marketing arsenal.

Smashwords Interviews only launched today and the entire system is plagued with bugs. Many authors are getting the system message that the service has run out of questions. Mark Coker the CEO of Smashwords has addressed this issue and are currently working on a solution. Authors can still make their own questions and answer them, so its not totally broken.

In spirit, this is a great tool for authors to employ. Many of Amazon’s top eBooks have an author interview in the description field. This is normally generated by a PR company, or the author themselves, you never know. When you are looking at an unknown writer and maybe their eBook looks interesting, it might lead to a sale. A large number of readers might dig the authors style or their writing voice. Lots of people follow specific authors and it all starts with the first glance at the book description.

Smashwords Unveils New Indie Author Interview System is a post from: E-Reader News

KDP Select Launches Lending in Japan, What That Means for Authors


Amazon announced this week that it has now extended its Kindle ebook lending in a new market, The Japanese Kindle store will now let its users borrow ebooks that have been placed in Amazon’s exclusive KDP Select program.

Indie authors have often confused KDP Select with Amazon’s typical ebook publishing platform, Kindle Direct Publishing. eBooks uploaded through KDP are not automatically entered into the Select program, meaning the authors are not limited as to where the ebook can be sold. Once a title is listed under Select, however, it is eligible for some promotional tools and the lending program, a feature that can actually result in higher royalties for the author every time the book is borrowed, depending on its price point, of course.

What authors might be confused about in regards to this newest lending market in Japan is that their books are still only available in English, so the risk of losing royalties by putting their titles in the Select program might actually be a little higher than if they were not already enrolled. For authors whose works are already a part of Select and are producing successful returns, this announcement opens up the possibility of more readers choosing to borrow the titles, offering the authors more opportunity to earn the royalties associated with lending.

Authors whose English titles are not currently enrolled in Select would have to weigh the decision of removing their books from all other sales channels in hopes that readers in Japanese would borrow English-language ebooks with enough volume to make up the difference.

KDP Select Launches Lending in Japan, What That Means for Authors is a post from: E-Reader News

Get up to speed with OverDrive Media Console 3.0 for Android and iOS


Now that OverDrive Media Console (OMC) 3.0 is live for Android and iOS, you'll want to make sure you're familiar with all the new features. If you weren’t able to attend the live webinars last week to get a preview, there is a recorded version along with the slides on the Learning Center for on demand viewing. You'll find a video demonstration highlighting the features, information on syncing across devices, compatibility and more. We also have updated the video series for both Android and iOS and our help articles on OverDrive Help, so your end users have resources available to them as well.


To download OMC 3.0 and for more information on all other versions, please visit


Here’s what some people are saying about their experience with the app so far on Twitter:

Teachers, Classrooms Get a Boost from Bill Gates through Graphite


One of the long understood and ugly truths about teaching is that the pay is low and the investment of the teacher’s own funds for her classroom supplies are high. But Bill Gates and Common Sense Media have launched a new initiative to provide some measure or relief by creating open access content that teachers can use in their classrooms.

Bill Gates, head of the globally reknowned Microsoft corporation, has long supported education both at home and around the world through the efforts of his Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Now, he’s stepping up once again to offer teachers free digital resources for their classroom use through a partnership with the non-profit Common Sense Media. The result of this partnership, Graphite, is a website where teachers can access games, apps, curriculum, and more, all in an environment where the content has been vetted for grade-level use and age-appropriate consumption.

“Graphite will make it easier for educators to find the tools they want and empower them do their best work,” Gates said in a statement. “It’s a great example of how we can support teachers who want to incorporate education technology in their classroom to help every student excel.”

Gates has long been known for his firm stance that the only solution to many of the global crises faced today is education, as well as his strong admonishment that technology companies are not doing nearly enough to support education domestically and abroad. Through his foundation, Gates has supported a number of worldwide initiatives aimed at bringing educational technology to as many students as possible.

Teachers, Classrooms Get a Boost from Bill Gates through Graphite is a post from: E-Reader News

CourseSmart Rolls Out Digital Textbook Subscriptions for College Students


With estimates as high as $1,200 US per year that college students spend on textbooks alone, digital educational content leader CourseSmart is unveiling its newest feature, aimed at easing that burden to some extent. The CourseSmart Subscription Packs, launched in time for students to return to school in the fall and take full advantage, stands to slash that price figure by as much as 66 percent.

The Subscription Packs, which let students select titles from CourseSmart’s catalog of over 40,000 digital textbooks, will cost students right at $200 for a “bookshelf” of six titles. The subscription allows students to have unlimited access to their bookshelves for 150 days, long enough for a full semester. The bookshelf is accessible online, offline, and through all of CourseSmart’s smartphone and tablet-specific mobile apps.

"Digital course materials have always provided cost-savings and convenience for students, and we are taking those benefits a step further with CourseSmart Subscription Packs," said Sean Devine, CEO of CourseSmart, in a statement about the new subscription feature. "This flat-fee model offers students maximum convenience and affordability, ensuring they have everything they need to be successful during the semester while keeping extra money in their wallets."

Apart from the typical search, highlight, and share features that have made a number of student consumers embrace digital editions, one draw for this type of program is that it is not university-specific. Students have the option to sign up with CourseSmart on their own, regardless of any form of agreement with the institution. By making it available to individual users without the need for a partnership agreement with an entire school, students have far more flexibility in selecting digital textbooks without having to wait for educational bureaucracy to catch up to digital publishing.

CourseSmart Rolls Out Digital Textbook Subscriptions for College Students is a post from: E-Reader News

Conde Nast, Amazon Partner on Magazine Subscriptions


Conde Nast has made digital publishing headlines for some time as it’s one of the first major magazine publishers to create flawless and device-optimized digital editions of its family of magazine titles using Adobe’s Digital Publishing Suite. These editions, available for a variety of smartphones and tablets, also come bundled for print subscribers, but can be had as stand-alone digital subscriptions.

Now, Conde Nast is turning to Amazon for help in managing these subscriptions. The publisher has now signed on to have its reader base initiate and renew their subscriptions through the online retailer, a sensible move considering that electronic retailing is what Amazon does best. Standard methods of subscribing will still apply for now, but the publisher hopes to transition to Amazon’s database for future readers.

During the initial phase of the partnership, subscribers can get six months of several Conde Nast titles–Vogue, Glamour, Bon Appetit, Lucky, Golf Digest, Vanity Fair and Wired–for only six dollars. The remaining Conde Nast title, eleven in all, will be added to the program at a later time.

An article for Reuter’s by Jennifer Saba outlined how this partnership came about, referencing a meeting between Amazon’s director of Kindle content Russ Grandinetti and Conde Nast’s president.

“‘We are using the partnership with Amazon to make purchasing and renewing subscriptions as easy as humanly possible,’ Bob Sauerberg, president of Conde Nast, said in an interview last Wednesday. ‘We want to go from selling print subscriptions to selling access to all our content,’ he added, referring to the introductory offer that allows readers to get online and print subscriptions bundled together for individual titles.”

Despite being one of the more innovative publishers in terms of jumping straight into digital, Conde Nast’s digital subscriptions still make up less than 5% of its readership, a move that it hopes to shift through the arrangement and through its similar subscription arrangement with Apple.

Conde Nast, Amazon Partner on Magazine Subscriptions is a post from: E-Reader News

An E Ink eBook Reader and Secondary Computer Monitor Rolled into One

Have you ever wanted to use your ebook reader as a computer monitor? If so, I’ve got some good news for you. The folks from Shenzhen Ocean Blue Technology in China are trying to raise $2000 via IndieGogo to build the first E Ink ebook reader, named CBR, that can double as a secondary computer […]

Overdrive Media Console for Android and iOS Updated


Overdrive has just released their long awaited 3.0 update to the Media Console app for Android and iOS. This app allows patrons to borrow ebook and audiobooks from their public libraries. The big draw about the update is the ability to sync bookmarks and last page read across devices. This is especially important if users read on a smartphone and than pick up on their tablets at night.

A redesigned user interface with an all-new look is included in the update, along with streamlined navigation and a one-stop reorganized menu. App functions are just a swipe and tap away. OverDrive also introduced variable speed playback for iOS, where readers can control the speed in which an audiobook is being played.

The most important update is a guide to using the app. The old Media Console app was not very intuitive, while many common features were buried and hard to find. This all changed with a new guidance system for first time users, as the app now prompts users to add libraries and get books.

The updated app is available from Good e-Reader for Android or iOS.

Overdrive Media Console for Android and iOS Updated is a post from: E-Reader News

National Library of Australia Digitizing Old Newspaper Articles


The National Library of Australia has embarked on an ambitious project of digitizing decades old newspapers to be added in a new database which they have named 'Trove'. It will be a treasure trove indeed as it's not only newspapers that are being provided with a digital makeover but books and journals as well. Past photographs too are being included in 'Trove', which means anyone wishing to have an insight of Australia and its people will have a rich source to fall back on.

“It’s now got over 300 million resources available, focussing on Australia and Australians, but the newspapers is the part of Trove which gets most use and has our most devoted followers,” said digital historian at the National Library of Australia, Dr Tim Sherratt.

The project which began in 2008 has grown to include over a '100 million newspaper articles and 10 million newspaper pages'. “A large portion of the newspaper users tend to be people interested in or passionate about family history. It has certainly very much changed the way people do that. (It’s helped people get) All those details about death notices, marriage notices, all those little stories that just fill-in detail which you wouldn’t otherwise have access to,” said Sherratt.

“There are a number of cases where local history groups or local libraries have actually organised themselves to support the digitisation of their own local papers,” Sherratt further added.

National Library of Australia Digitizing Old Newspaper Articles is a post from: E-Reader News

B&N Confirms New Nook Coming Soon, Backtracks on Dropping “Color” Nooks

Yesterday Barnes and Noble released their 2014 first quarter financial results, and the news was pretty bad. Revenues are continually going down, and the Nook division is still sinking faster than B&N’s retail division. The retail segment had revenues of 1 billion dollars, which is down nearly 10% from the prior year. The Nook segment, […]

AirPi – the next step

Liz: When Clive and I are asked what schools project in the past year has really knocked our socks off, our response is usually the AirPi, an inexpensive pollution and weather monitor developed by Alyssa Dayan and Tom Hartley, a pair of sixth formers from Westminster School in London. AirPi won the PA Consulting Raspberry Pi competition earlier this year, where entries had to “make the world a better place”, and we regularly use it in talks as an example of the amazing things that can be achieved with a Pi and some ingenuity.

Tom and Alyssa with an early prototype

AirPi is an open-source weather and pollution monitoring system, with the ability to record and stream data. Including the Pi, it comes in at £55: tens of times cheaper than equivalent off-the-shelf equipment. Things have come a long way since the first, competition-winning iteration of AirPi: Alyssa and Tom have been learning about PCB design and entrepreneurship  and have just launched a Tindie to raise funds to sell the kit. I’ve asked them to write about what they’ve been doing, and what progress they’ve made with AirPi over the last few months. Here’s what Tom had to say: 

For the last 10 months, I've been working with Alyssa Dayan to create the AirPi. Its a shield for the Raspberry Pi capable of recording data about the air quality and current weather conditions, coupled with code to upload its recordings to the internet in real time. Just last week, we started a fundraiser for our kit on Tindie!

AirPi in its current incarnation. Note shiny PCB.

The project started back in October 2012, when one of our teachers (we're both sixth form students) told us about the PA Consulting Raspberry Pi competition. The challenge was to create something, using a Pi, which would "make the world a better place". We didn’t have a very clear idea of what to design, so we looked at the different kinds of hardware we could connect to the Pi. After checking Adafruit's website, we discovered a vast assortment of sensors, many of which measured meteorological information. Over the next 4 months, we purchased and added on various parts from all over the world (testing and calibrating as we went along), starting with the DHT22 which measured temperature and humidity, and finishing with the UVI-01 which measures UV levels. That was the very first incarnation of the AirPi.

Simultaneous to developing the hardware, we started developing the software. It was split up into Python scripts (which are currently undergoing a complete rewrite!) running on the Pi, and a live updating website (with HTML5 websockets!). By February, we'd started putting basic instructions on how to make your own AirPi onto our website (this was a stipulation of the competition), and one of the most incredible moments we had was when an awesome guy from the UK, Paul, emailed us and said he'd already put one together. Before that point we had no idea that people would actually be interested in building an AirPi themselves!

Early version of AirPi on breadboard

In March, we were invited to the finals of the competition. After polishing up our website and tidying our breadboard (above), we headed to PA Consulting's offices near Royston. We started by getting a tour around, and seeing the awesome workshop and labs that PA had. In the afternoon we were judged the winners in our category. After the event was over, the project gained some interest online, and about 10 other people have put an AirPi together by hand since then. Of special note however, was Taylor Jones, an electronics engineer in the US, who emailed us saying he wanted to design a PCB for the AirPi. I have now started learning that dark art, but at the time neither I nor Alyssa had any experience making PCBs so we were incredibly glad to have his help!

Final AirPi kit

After three iterations, we had a functional PCB – this made the AirPi much more compact and easy to assemble, so we decided to start making kits for it. We signed up for a stand the Elephant & Castle Mini Maker Faire - this was brilliant as it gave us a fixed date we had to get the kits ready by. After reinvesting the prize money from the PA consulting competition into components, PCBs, packaging and stickers, we were ready to head off to the Maker Faire with the kits. We sold out of all 15 kits we had purchased for the day! In the weeks after the Faire, we were contacted by several very awesome groups of people: a new green initiative in Ho Chi Minh city in Vietnam has purchased three kits in order to measure the air quality there, and the Chaos Computer Club in Germany has bought 15 in order to teach children to solder. We've even had several archivists in the UK who've asked us to give them some so they can accurately monitor the temperature and humidity of the books they're looking after! In the near future, we're hoping to develop a 3D printed case for the AirPi which will allow people to put it outside a lot easier.

AirPi hooked up to a Pi

After many requests for a kit, we've started a fundraiser on Tindie (sort of like a Kickstarter, but especially for electronics). If you're interested in ordering a kit to measure temperature, humidity, UV, NO2, CO, light and air pressure for £55, then you can go to this page - we’ll be shipping them out in late September. Alternatively, we have published all the source code, instructions, components needed and even the PCB files and schematics online, so if you want make and assemble one yourself (or improve upon our design), feel free to do so. We love open source – without the amazing work of so many people online, there could be no AirPi. If you build one, we'd love to hear from you and add it to our website. Thank you for reading!